Following their previous progressive productions ‘Somewhere In Time’ and ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’, ‘No Prayer for the Dying’ sounds much more earthy and is slightly reminiscent of the band's earlier works. Dickinson experimented with changes in his vocal style on ‘No Prayer for the Dying’. His voice is rougher and more raw than before. It’s also notable that the synthesizer passages have been pushed into the background. For a long time, ‘No Prayer For The Dying’ was Iron Maiden’s last album to go gold in the USA.
OK for an IM release
The beginning of the new decade marks a new era for the band. The leader Steve Harris, after a colossal “Seventh son of the Seventh Son†, resets Iron Maiden, having lost an essential member and composer named Adrian Smith. “No Prayer for the Dying† signaled the change of direction Maiden decided to make, a change of style that was met with negative reviews. It would be pointless to argue that No Prayer wasn’t a letdown or that it is somehow equal to Maiden’s best albums. It is just that this record is so underrated, that it pains me. So here it goes.
No Prayer is the best thing Maiden could do at the moment, a great album for the time that has aged considerably well and a pivotal turn in their career. Don’t forget that in NPFTD exist: a) at least 4 songs that could be played in every Maiden concert, b) the only no.1 song at UK charts in their whole career and is the last time Maiden went gold. More importantly, it is a down to earth heavy metal/hard rock offering that maintains the band’s status as leaders of the pack, in a decade that traditional heavy metal suffered greatly.
If the half-assed song writing wasn't bad enough, Bruce Dickinson takes a leaf out of Brian Johnson's vocal technique. Gone, for the most part, is the operatic singing style which soared through the likes of "Aces High" and "The Trooper". Instead his voice sounds scratchy and raspy, void of the qualities which made him one such a force to begin with. That isn't to say that Dickinson has abandoned his former style completely; in the chorus of "The Assassin" he lets loose a few wails, and in "Mother Russia" and the title track he actually sings. That those three songs are No Prayer for the Dying's highlights is hardly coincidental; Dickinson's voice is grating enough to singlehandedly ruin halfway decent compositions, which he happens to do in Dave Murray's "Fates Warning" and Steve Harris' "Run Silent Run Deep".
Ultimately, though, it's a joint failure on Iron Maiden's part. Like the zombie Eddie that adorns the album's cover - stripped of the additions that came on previous covers – No Prayer for the Dying is a plain, listless record that never really gets itself going. Though the album's worst tracks aren't as bad as the stinkers on Fear of the Dark, at the same time, its best songs don't hold a candle to the likes of "Judas Be My Guide", "Wasting Love", or "Fear of the Dark" either. As such, No Prayer for the Dying is Iron Maiden's most forgettable release overall; unless you're a completist with money to spend, it's best just to avoid this.